Per-Pulse Billing Of Cellphone Calls

Almost two and a half (2-1/2) years after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued its Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 05-07-2009, our hope to have lower cost of cellphone calls based on six-second-per-pulse billing is alive again. This is because the Court of Appeals (CA), in its 11-page decision promulgated January 19, 2012, denied the motions for reconsideration and the motion for partial reconsideration filed by the telcos (Smart, Globe, Innove and CURE) and by NTC are denied for lack of merit.

Late last year, the telcos appealed the December 2010 decision of the same court which ordered them to submit before the NTC new applications for authority to charge new rates for the cellphone calls under the six-second-per-pulse billing scheme pursuant to the above-mentioned NTC memorandum circular. It was this appeal or motion for reconsideration that was rejected by CA and asked the telcos to submit a new round of proposed per-pulse rates to NTC.

However, it’s not yet time to rejoice because the rift between NTC, which is pushing for the implementation of the per-pulse billing scheme in cellphone calls, and the phone firms that are against it, is seen to reach all the way to the Supreme Court.

Under MC No. 05-07-2012, cellphone calls would have been charged based on the time consumed, instead of the prevailing per-minute method. A flag-down rate of PhP3.00 for the first 12 seconds would be charged to consumers. In the first minute of the call, each succeeding six-second pulse would be charged up to P0.56. In the second minute upwards, each pulse would be charged up to PhP0.75. The rates should not exceed PhP7.50 per minute, the highest prevailing rate among the phone firms.

While the CA recognized the NTC’s mandate to implement a default billing system on per-pulse basis which would result to cost benefits by cellphone callers, it, however, questioned the manner by which the NTC arrived at the above rates. This is why the telcos were asked to submit a new round of proposed rates.

I followed the developments in the issue back in 2009 when the telcos submitted to NTC their proposed charging using per-pulse scheme. I had an analysis of the proposed telco rates and from there alone, you could see the big possibility of the case getting elevated to the Supreme Court. As such, do you think think we will have to wait for another 2 to 3 years before the per-pulse charging gets implemented?

You may also ask how we could benefit cost wise if and when the NTC circular finally gets implemented so I wish to refer you to my old blog about getting charged per pulse on cellphone calls although the figures there are now tentative again because of the CA order for the telcos to again submit their proposed per-pulse charging.

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